To Be Creative, You Need to Say “No”

The author’s title for this is actually: “Why Some of the World’s Most Productive People Have Empty Schedules,” but we thought leaving it like that would, you know, ruin the suspense.

Oh wait…

scheduleby Drake Baer

Why Some of the World’s Most Productive People Have Empty Schedules

Back in 1991, Warren Buffett met Bill Gates, though as he tells career community website Levo League, neither of them were excited to see one another. But it turned out they had a great time talking—and during the course of the conversation, Buffett pulled out the little black date book that he carries in his pocket. He flipped through it: The pages were practically empty.

“You’ve gotta keep control of your time,” Buffett says, “and you can’t unless you say no. You can’t let people set your agenda in life.”

To Be Creative, You Need to Say “No”

Buffett, now 82, admits that it doesn’t get easier as you get older. But even if you’re not inclined to decline—like when your friend asks you to attend something—you need to develop the ability to say no. He’s far from alone: As Kevin Ashton wrote in a recent essay for Medium, being stingy with your time is part of leading a creative, productive life.

Ashton, who coined the phrase “Internet of Things,” observes a common thread between ur-manager Peter Drucker, novelist Charles Dickens, and photographer Richard Avedon: All of them guarded their time. Why? For in order to do your work, Ashton observed, you must have time:

“Wipe away the magic and myth of creating and all that remains is work … No matter what you read, no matter what they claim, nearly all creators spend nearly all their time on the work of creation. There are few overnight successes and many up-all-night successes.”

This is why if we want to do the work that we want to do, we need to own our time—how else can we spend it productively? As Reddit CEO Yishan Wong explained in an epic, lesson-filled Quora thread, time is limited in three ways:

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Peer Production: A Video Game for ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT Fans

Arrested Development Capture

Okay, so it’s a faux video game. But it’s so perfect it makes us long for the real thing.

For our Sega Dreamcast.

Yeah, that would be perfect.

From BrianKAnimation

Oh look! A word from the creator:

Published on Jun 9, 2013

A fighting game starring the cast of Arrested Development? Who came up with that stupid idea? Me! I mean, who wouldn’t want a fighting game where you and your friends can duke it out as Steve Holt & Mrs. Featherbottom?

Do you want to show your support for this (currently) fake game? Get a t-shirt:


LB: MAJOR CRIMES Has Returned and, Um, So Far So Good


The Good:

  • It’s just like it was last season. Except that it isn’t.
  • G.W. Bailey’s Lt. Provenza steals the show.
  • Episode 1 was one of the few times I’ve ever enjoyed a Hollywood themed murder. Probably cuz the Big Deal Film Director Suspect here was sooo Michael Bay.
  • Robert Gossett’s Commander Tyler was back to being a major asshat.
  • Mary McDonnell’s Captain Rayder was as delightfully passive-aggressive as ever.

The Not So Good:

  • Please, please, please give Graham Patrick Martin’s Rusty Beck a chance to, oh what the hell, smile for once. All that damn sturm und drang has gotten pretty damn boring.
  • The plot twists were pretty damn goofy, y’know? My suspension of disbelief had to shift into hyperdrive.
  • The shout-out to the transferred Brenda Leigh Johnson was just that…merely a shout-out for no real reason.
  • I really missed Chief Pope.
  • It’s just like last season. Except that it isn’t.


I’ll keep coming back for more because I’m caught up in the Great TV Trap of feeling like I know all these people so watching them makes me feel all cozy and secure. Maybe they’ll kill someone off down the line. The thought gives me great satisfaction because sometimes you just don’t want – or need – to be so cozy and secure.

Last Week’s 10 Most Pirated Movies Were–


…Pretty surprising, actually. Especially Numero Uno. Then again, the fact that the very same film was Number One at the box office is also a shock:

torrentfreakchartCaptureOur thanks to TorrentFreak for this chart. And for proving, once again, that there ain’t no reason in the world to go to the movies unless you like pigging out on fake popcorn and pseudo butter that clogs your arteries and turns your heart to sludge, making you into the #2 most-pirated film of the week, DEAD MAN DOWN.

Admit it. You love us for our subtlety. Right? Right…?

Phoef Sutton – Writer for CHEERS, BOSTON LEGAL, TERRIERS – Speaks!

We’re in awe of this dood’s bio. Yeppers, Phoef is a dood. We think that’s very cool too. Anyway:


by Daniel S. Boucher


Phoef Sutton was born in Washington DC. He cut his eye teeth as a playwright, but first made a living as a writer in TV. He worked on the classic NBC series CHEERS for eight years, and went on to write movies (THE FAN, MRS. WINTERBOURNE) and also serve as consulting producer and writer for BOSTON LEGAL and TERRIERS. He lives in South Pasadena, CA and Vinalhaven ME with his wife and two daughters.

You worked on the hit show CHEERS with NBC for eight years and then went on to film, writing scripts for MRS WINTERBOURNE (1996, Shirley MacLaine, Brendan Fraser) and THE FAN (1996, Robert De Niro, Wesley Snipes). Was it a considerable shift to go from writing for the small screen to the big screen?

You know, it’s funny, I’ve written in just about every form imaginable: Prose, plays, multi-camera comedy, hour drama and film. And approach every one of them from the same angle –character. If the character holds an interest for me, the form doesn’t really make that much difference. A story is about interesting characters doing interesting things.

How did you get your start producing and writing for film and TV? Was it something you always “knew you’d do,” or was there more to it than that?

I always knew I wanted to be a writer. As far a producing and writing for TV, I didn’t really know that career existed. All I knew about being a television writer came from watching episodes of THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW – which is actually pretty accurate! I came out to L.A. wanting to “be a writer.” Nothing more specific than that. I had a college friend, Barbara Hall, who was writing for NEWHART and she told me to write a “spec script” – sort of an audition script for the show. I wrote several drafts and Barbara helped me with them. I submitted it to the show. Then Barbara and everyone she knew left the show. So the script was in the office, but no one who knew me was working there. I chalked it up to bad luck and went on with my life. THREE YEARS later somebody at NEWHART read it, liked it and called me up to take me to lunch. I’d forgotten all about the script, but a free lunch was not to be turned down. They didn’t have a job for me, but they encouraged me. An agent got the script to Heide Perlman at CHEERS. And the rest, as they say…

What are some of your most memorable moments working in television and film? Have you met a lot of great actors? Do you have any juicy gossip (past or present) that you can share? Was there ever anyone who was just phenomenal or impossible to work with?

It’s been my pleasure to work with some legendary, monster talents. Aside from Ted Danson and the cast of CHEERS, I’ve worked with John Cleese, Sheldon Leonard, Brian Dennehy, Cloris Leachman, Robert De Niro, Shirley MacLaine, Rickie Lake, Celeste Holm, Victor Garber, Michael Chiklis, Ray McKinnon, Garrett Dillahunt, Cheech Marin… and Rob Schneider. I have nothing bad to say about any of them… except Rob Schneider. He’s a real a-hole.

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